Shopping for the Best Lightweight Tactical Boots
When governments send their militia onto the field of battle, the weapons at their disposal are just as important as the equipment on their bodies. The right footwear can mean the difference between staying on your feet and feeling energized, and losing your footing when it matters most. That's why we created a Shopping for the Best Lightweight Tactical Boots guide.
Millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours have been invested in the research and development of tactical boots that meet the needs of military personnel. The wide array of footwear available to today's hunter, soldier, and rugged outdoorsman makes it difficult to select a boot that works for the individual.
So how do you shop for the best lightweight tactical boots? What should you look for, and what pitfalls should you avoid when buying online?
Match Your Environment
The first thing to consider when shopping for a new pair of tactical boots is the environment you plan to use them in. Today, there are more than just standard black-leather boots available. Suppliers have developed different boots to meet the demands of different environments.
Featured below are examples of common tactical boots for sale today. As you shop for new footwear, browse the features of these boots to ensure they match your needs in the field:
• Jungle boots: Designed to cope with the damp and humid conditions of jungle environments, these boots feature durable and impermeable materials. Canvas is often used on the top portion of the boot to allow your feet to breathe, while the lower portion consists of water-resistant materials. These boots must be lightweight and flexible to handle the rigors of a moist environment.
Here's our review of the Rocky S2V Boot AR 670-1 Compliant
• Desert boots: Desert warfare requires the use of boots that keep your feet dry and cool when the temperatures outside skyrocket. Most modern desert boots are constructed using Direct Vent technology. This consists of millions of tiny pores in the boot that improve airflow and keep your feet dry by wicking moisture directly to the outside of the boot.
Also keep in mind that you'll need tread that grip just enough to the sand but doesn't dig too deep. It will allow you to be more nimble in movement with less drag per step.
The Danner Desert TFX AR 670-1 Compliant boots were designed for the desert. They are also very comfortable. (See my review here)
• Winter boots: Many of the materials used in the manufacture of these boots are similar to other tactical footwear. The goal of protecting your feet from the elements remains the same, but the approach is different. Wicking technology removes moisture from your boots, aiding in the prevention of frostbite.
Waterproof materials are used to prevent snow and ice from infiltrating your footwear, and added insulation helps keep your feet warm.
Here's a review of water proof combat boots to help you on your mission
Check out Top 4 Best tactical Boots
Once you've narrowed down your tactical boot selection based upon your target environment, look at the specific design features of each boot.
There are five features you should look for in any footwear you are considering:
• Upper fabric;
• Overlay materials;
• Sole; and
The upper fabric in your tactical boots wraps around your ankle and covers the majority of the boot. Many manufacturers, such as Altai, have designed fabrics that resist stains, offer enhanced durability, and even use tiny armor plates to provide stability and protection for your foot. Canvas is the most popular upper fabric.
Overlay materials are used to enhance the protection provided to your feet. Examples of overlay materials include those that offer water resistance, waterproofing, moisture wicking, and even steel-toe inserts that offer greater protection against elements on the battlefield or in nature. Kevlar is a popular overlay material in boots.
Your boots are going to be worn in a variety of environments, and often for hours at a time. You need a boot that is comfortable to wear and supports your body while you are on your feet. The best lightweight tactical boots use materials that don't add weight to your body, but also have the cushioning required to keep you comfortable and pain-free while you're moving around.
The sole of your boots can make a huge difference. Slipping during combat or struggling to trek uphill are signs of a poorly designed boot.
Lastly, don't forget the laces. As silly as it may seem, manufacturers have improved upon the laces in tactical boots to ensure you don't have to waste precious time tying your boots. New lace technology makes it easier to tie your boots in seconds, even with one hand.
We put together a list of our favorite lightweight tactical boots that qualify for optional wear for you to read
Making a Final Selection
When you are making your final selection, keep these three tips in mind:
• Always wear boot socks: The right socks ensure your boot fits properly, keeping your foot secure.
*We made a list for you here: recommended socks for military boots
• Adequate toe room: Your toes should be able to wiggle in your boot. A good rule of thumb is to slide your toes all the way forward and have enough space behind your heel to fit a finger.
• Secure heel: Your heel should fit securely in the heel of your boot. The fit should be snug, not tight, and not allow your heel to slide from side to side when walking.
Additional Relevant Resources:
- Here's our broad list of combat boots that are all vetted out for optional wear
- Also, here is our list of UNAUTHORIZED boots, in case you are in the market for them.
- Here's our resource on tactical flashlights, comfortable boots, and binoculars